Thursday, October 30, 2008


disgruntled bunny
This photo makes me laugh every time I see it. Jim is in the background whoopin' it up, and Bobby has the most disgusted look on her face like, "Seriously? I'm 80 years old and I have to put up with his shenanigans?" It was taken last weekend at an awesome Halloween party.

Today was a long, stressful day at work. I'm still battling my cold and am only just starting to get my voice back. After running a work errand and a theater errand, I didn't get home until 6:30, and wanted nothing more than to heat up my macaroni and cheese Lean Cuisine and call it a night. Which is what I did. It tasted fantastic. Much better than I remembered it tasting. I ate and ate and ate, thinking, "Man, this is huge! This is a lot of food for 300 calories!" I finished, went back to the kitchen, and noticed the empty box laying on the counter.

It was a REGULAR Stouffer's macaroni and cheese, not a light one. I had bought the wrong kind. Crap! And then I read the corner: Large Size. Double crap! And then I flipped the box over and saw that one serving is 350 calories! And there are 2 1/2 servings in the container!! Horrifying triple crap! I had accidentally packed away 850 calories in one sitting. No wonder it was so tasty and filling. Note to self: do not go food shopping while on cold medicine.

I must say, I enjoyed every calorie-laden, sodium-filled, bad-for-you bite. And now I will move on. It's time for a relaxing jacuzzi tub bath, followed by a new episode of Grey's Anatomy. Happy Halloween Eve!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

crap! i still have a cold!

caramel apple
Caramel apple at an engagement party a few weeks ago.

My joy at having a cold has quickly withered to annoyance. This cold turned into one of those ache-all-over, fevery, exhausted, big pile of yuck flu-ey colds.

You probably can't tell by reading this, but I have no voice, and haven't had once since Saturday. That's a long time to go without speaking. What comes out is a demonic rasping, crackling sound, punctuated with a dry cough. It's quite attractive. A friend called me today and couldn't even understand what I was saying; she told me to grunt if the answer was yes, and hiss if the answer was no. Oh, the fun we had.

I've missed two days of work this week, but plan on going in tomorrow. I'm not feeling as horrible, but still have no voice. Which, unfortunately, will not get me out of doing some fine graphic design for the company. Off to sleep.

Friday, October 24, 2008

pass me a spoon

On this dark rainy evening, I thought it was appropriate to eat a comfort food I'm passionate about: squash. My absolute favorite is buttercup squash; when I see them all piled up at Westborn, I get so excited that I want to fling myself into the bin and hug them all.

This is the way my family has always made squash. Some people bake it in a pan with an inch of water, some people microwave it or whatever. Poke around online and try things out, and decide what works best for you. Here's the Lymie method:

1. Find a squash.


2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Get big knife and cut the squash in half. This isn't always easy, so be careful.

4. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard (or compost). Or save them and roast them like pumpkin seeds.


5. Place the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet (I line mine with non-stick foil so cleanup is easier. You can spray the foil or pan with cooking spray if you want, too). Stab the rind with a knife or fork so the steam will vent out.


6. Stick it in the oven.

7. Wait.

8. It's done when the rind is very shiny, and syrupy-looking juices are pooling at the bottom. Push on the top with a fork and if it's soft, it's done. I cook mine for 30 - 50 minutes, depending on the squash.


9. Scrape it out and dump it into a bowl, and if you're feeling really industrious, you can whip it with an electric mixer. Or if you just don't want to bother, you can eat it right out of the shell, which is what I did today. Add some butter, some brown sugar, and some salt, and mash it all up. You can even sprinkle on some cinnamon or nutmeg if you'd like.

10. Eat!


A good squash cooks up slightly dry and mealy, sort of like a baked sweet or white potato. Sometimes you get a really wet or stringy one, which is disappointing. You never know what you're going to get until after you cook it. But keep trying!

Squash has lots of beta-carotene and carotonoids (antioxidants that fight diseases), as well as potassium and vitamins C and E. It is soooo good for you.

This site is great for identifying squash types, and gives cooking methods and recipes.

I love squash.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

i don't wanna

corn maze
Inside a corn maze this past weekend.

One week of frivolous eating is relatively easy to recover from. Two weeks in a row is a disaster. With all the traveling I've done in the past 14 days, I can't seem to get myself in the swing of things again; I don't feel like measuring my food, counting my points, or being at all accountable.

This makes me ponder what on earth is in packaged foods to make them so addictive. When I'm not eating processed food and sugar, I don't crave it anymore. But when I have fries or a burger or a big slice of cheesecake, or pretty much anything out of a package with a gazillion ingredients not found in nature, things fall apart. Something triggers in my brain, a monster comes out, and I just crave more.

I wonder what people in Ye Olde Tymes did, in the way-back-when days of fruits, vegetables, barley, and meat, maybe some cheese or beer, and that's it. No one rode their horse into the nearest village and ordered mini tacos. Did medieval people even have food issues? Did they sneak away to the pantry in the dead of night and binge on cabbage? Beat themselves up the next morning when their corset was too tight? It seems like someone must have had food issues, but it doesn't seem possible when there was no convenient food to unwrap or 24-hour drive-thrus to frequent. Can you imagine not being bombarded with food commercials on TV, restaurants on the way home, and aisles and aisles of convenience foods you don't need to eat, ever? I'm not saying I'm longing to own a cottage in the 1500's and live off the land, but sheesh.
Nowadays it's just too easy to eat.


None of these thoughts will help me. I still have goals to achieve and new pants to get into. I just don't quite feel like it yet, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

yay! i have a cold!


That's Donna's head and arms on top, my arms in the middle, and Sarah's arms and legs on the bottom. We were trying to portray a Hindu goddess, but wound up looking more like a tick.

I wore myself down with all the traveling, frolicking, and general merriment that's been going on for the past two weeks. Last night I could barely move, I was so exhausted. Today I woke up with a cold, which is a huge relief - I was worried that I was going to herx in a big way. It's strange that I embrace a sore throat, achey muscles, and a headache, but I'm a wacky girl like that.

I'm taking it easy, and going to bed early. Photos, deep thoughts, and other useless information will come your way tomorrow.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

to hell and back

welcome to hell

On Friday, Donna, me and visiting friend Sarah went to Hell, Michigan, an actual city north of Ann Arbor. We had lunch at the Dam Site Inn, where we ate fabulous burgers and beer, surrounded by flames dancing on the walls and windows (the fake kind with fluttering silk fabric).

beer in hell


witch crossing


We did a little souvenir shopping at Screams Ice Cream, where you can buy all things Halloween year-round. Donna and Sarah had to practically drag me out of that store - I wanted to buy everything.

halloween village

Then we went hiking at the Pinckney Recreation Area, where we did a relaxing 2-mile hike around lakes and through the woods.




It was a gorgeous, fun autumn day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

travel mania

pumpkin farm

After a week of eggplant/ricotta pizza, yummy homemade ice cream cake, rice balls, fresh mozzarella cheese, bagels and cream cheese, sushi and tempura goodness, a giant burger with fries and onion rings . . . well, I was ready to eat better. I had decided in advance that I would enjoy myself and my food during my vacation, but not go crazy and stuff myself until bursting. I ate far smaller portions of the above food than I would normally, trying to eat consciously. For the most part, it worked (burger not included).

The tricky part is reverting back to healthy food when your brain is still in vacation mode. Yesterday it was a challenge for me to begin portioning and counting my points on the Weight Watcher's site, but I made myself do it anyway. I stocked up on fruit, vegetables, and other whole foods at Westborn and found that I had missed my squash, plums, and nightly big salad.

Transitioning back into my plan has been easier than I expected, and makes me hopeful that this way of eating is becoming a lifestyle for me. I'm enjoying eating lighter and more nutritious foods, and am feeling less Lymie overall. And that is motivation enough for me.

pumpkin farm!

Tomorrow morning, my boss and I are headed to Washington, D.C., for a two-day meeting. Yes, I was just there last Monday. We found out about it this afternoon, so I've been in a frenzy of packing an overnight bag, setting up dog-sitting (thanks, Jim), and cleaning up the random clutter in my house. Luckily, I was too lazy to completely unpack from New Jersey, so I just transferred things from my big suitcase to my bag, and did a load of laundry.

The flight takes off at 7 a.m., which means I have to get up around 4 a.m. to make it to the airport. Yippee.

In the meantime, please enjoy the photos of Laura's adorable daughters at the pumpkin farm. I'm missing them horribly already!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

where'd you put the keys, girl?


Today, after picking up my dogs from my parents', I stopped at our 20 acres of property that has been in our family for over 100 years. The fall colors were blazing away, it was warm out, and I was in a great mood.

Sophie and Sadie are such city dogs and weren't quite sure what to make of the trails. They were like, what are these? Sticks to step over? Ferns to go around? Leaves to trudge through? I think not. But then they got a whiff of all the wonderful smells - deer, turkeys, pheasants, mice, and other frolicking woodland creatures - and realized how much fun this was going to be. Noses to the ground, they were quivering all over with sensory overload.

We had a great time tromping through the woods and enjoying all the foliage. It's the one place in my life that doesn't change that much. It's timeless; I feel six or sixteen or thirty-eight years old, or all ages at once. I just feel like me when I'm there.

I got back to the car and opened the door. Except it wouldn't open. None of the doors would open. I could see my keys, purse, camera bag, and phone inside. Crap. I had successfully locked my keys in the car, something I haven't done since college. Luckily, my brother, who lives on the property, was home, and we called a tow truck to come and unlock it. How extremely embarrassing. An hour later, the very nice tow man worked his magic, the door popped open, and I paid him $55.

It was a very expensive walk in the woods.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

the plane has landed

blue shoes

I'm back! I had so much fun. Still unpacking and downloading photos. Lots and lots of photos. Like zillions.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

a very hope-ful morning

Hope #1

I took the dogs up to "Camp Grandma" to stay with my parents next week while I'm in Washington D.C. on business, and then visiting Laura in New Jersey. My brother took me to see my sweet little niece, Hope, and honestly, I cannot believe I'm lucky enough to be related to this gorgeous creature.

I'll be back next Saturday, so hold tight until then. I'll have tons of photos and fun adventures to share!

Hope #2

Hope #3

Hope #4

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Knisper! Knasper! Knusper!"

Trying on my jeans, which now (tightly) fit, and my fun girlie shoes, which now (barely) fit my still-healing left foot.

When Gen and her husband get settled in their new house, I'm planning on sending them a care package. In it will be Cap'n Crunch cereal, graham crackers (which they don't have in Australia - the travesty!) to make s'mores, marshmallows (which are a different taste and consistency than here), and other fun food.

I e-mailed her asking if they had Rice Krispies there, and she replied that they have Rice Bubbles, which is Kellogg's Australian brand name for the cereal. RICE BUBBLES! Isn't that the best name EVER? For some reason, it makes me all giddy and tickly.

It's so strange to think of growing up eating Rice Bubble Treats. In fact, there's NO recipe for it on the Rice Bubble recipe page. Horrors! They do, however, have pre-made ones, called LCM's, with marshmallow flavor. I told Gen not to buy them, and to wait until I send her the ingredients to make homemade ones. I hope she likes them as much as I always have. I've been known to plow through a pan of them in record time.

Wikipedia has an interesting article about Rice Krispies, including how to say "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" in nine different languages.

I really need to get a hobby.